tv Larry King Live CNN July 17, 2010 12:00am-1:00am EDT
>> larry: tonight the real mel gibson. we'll take an in-depth look at the oscar winner's career. what is it like? is it what you thought it would be? >> no. >> larry: what makes him tick. >> the broads. >> larry: not that easy? >> they're not throwing themselves out of buildings on me. >> larry: how he rose to the top. >> you have to adapt to your life. >> larry: what he told me when we sat down together. >> i hate the tabloids. >> larry: mel gibson next on "larry king live."
>> larry: mel gibson has been at the top of his profession for decades, despite the apparent personal problems that have been report monday in the past week. he has an incredibly successful track record as an actor, director and producer. i spoke to him in 1997. we were talking about the film "conspiracy theory." a little history of this film. how did this unusual script come to you? >> it was sent to me by the writer by the director. he said he had written it for me. i had my doubts. they usually like to flatter you on these matters. >> yes, okay, they lie. >> larry: looks like he had you in mind. >> anyway, this lying bastard sent me the script. before i knew it, i kind of liked it. i found it very intriguing and well written. he is a very clever guy, so much that i'm doing a picture with him. he wrote and now he going to direct. i think he is good. >> larry: and one of the unusual things about this movie is you don't know what to expect. i had no idea what to expect
because of that, because it wasn't a book, right? it's an original screenplay. >> that's it. >> larry: do you think it will surprise people? >> i hope so. i think that's the effect we're looking for, is to not have them expect certain things and for those things to happen or not happen. >> larry: can you briefly explain your incredible character? you can't say you ever played anyone like jerry fletcher. >> no. he is something of an enigma. >> larry: not "braveheart". >> no, not that straight forward, with many good intentions. but i suppose he is a hybrid of like a bag person in new york and james bond, you know. >> larry: he is resourceful. >> yeah. he thinks he is james bond. in fact, i love the soundtrack on it because it's got this kind of really cheesy kind of james bond score. you're sure that's the theme music going on in his warped mind. he seems insane. he seems almost dangerous. >> larry: and he semi is? >> yeah, there is something. >> larry: he is a conspiracy
nut. >> yes. >> larry: the first third of the movie. >> yeah. >> larry: you think it's an all-the-way comedy. >> absolutely. because he undermines himself. he says things that sound plausible and completely rip the rug out from under himself and sound like a complete wacko. he'll start talking about martian invasions or black helicopters. >> larry: and who designed his apartment? easily the most unusual apartment ever on film. >> the writer had a good deal to do with that, because it has to be a place that can self-combust and not hurt anyone else. >> larry: in the building. >> yeah, sure. it has to be fortified. >> larry: finding a character like this, and we'll talk about working with julia. obviously this is difficult on that. how can we relate to that person. >> relate to what person? >> larry: the person you're playing. whacko. >> you find it. it's very difficult to -- to do anything that you have no experience of that's not a part of yourself in some way.
this can be very recesssive in you. it's maybe just you're imagining you have. he was an unusual character and difficult to get at, tricky because he is someone who someone had the vault of his mind open at some stage and removed some files. you see. >> larry: very well put. >> now he has to -- he kind of knows instinctively that something is very wrong, and he is mostly clutching at straws, really trying to find out who the hell he is. i mean his memory has been erased. he has been mip late, manchurian candidate style. >> larry: deeply programmed. >> yeah. >> larry: you wanted to know what he was like before they programmed him. >> yeah. well, they had things like in the torture sequence. >> larry: he goes back and he visualized? >> i had things coming out like marine chants, you know. >> larry: right. >> this is my rifle, this is my gun. i like that cartoon. >> larry: i did too.
>> i like those warner brothers jones cartoons. they're very cool. and i thought that was a real good parallel for what was happening to him, between the dog and the cat with patrick stewart and gary. >> larry: were you cast before julia roberts? >> i was. >> larry: did you have a hand in asking for her? >> yes, i did. i asked for her hand. >> larry: not bad. i would take the rest too. >> we took the whole piece. i tried to work with her years ago, and for one reason or another, that whole deal just fell apart. and for the millions of reasons that they can in this town. and it was just a delight to work with her and get the opportunity and have it go relatively smoothly. >> larry: this will give her two big hits this summer. >> hey, let's hope so. >> larry: oh, this is going to be a hit. "my best friend's wedding," she is on a roll. what is it like working with her? >> she is terrific. she is the queen of subtext. she can say a lot of things. she doesn't necessarily need dialogue. but if she has dialogue, you
don't realize how good she is until you're watching her really close. she completely cleans up any residue of anything that underpins what she has done. and she is fairly immaculate like that. and she is very spontaneous, intelligent, funny, and bounces off with a new -- if you throw her a twist, she'll go with it. that's very rare. she is very talented. >> larry: driving in the car with you when she now doesn't like you, and thinks you have harmed her family. she is great in that scene. >> yes. >> larry: that's three emotions going on at once. >> she can do that. she can speak volumes with her eyeballs. >> larry: getting new york city to cooperate. this is some of the wildest shots in new york. the street scenes. how did you do that? >> they were very good to us. mayor giuliani, he was very helpful. >> larry: cabs rolling across them. >> absolutely. we do a lot of work on sundays. >> larry: sunday nights too?
>> sunday nights, sundaes because it's a lot clearer then. you disrupt things as little as possible. but even apart from that, they were very gracious to let us use the 59th bridge and block traffic and things like that. you're talking about a major artery in and out of one of the boroughs. >> larry: you feel guilty? >> not at all. i don't feel guilty you see because it wasn't my doing that that happened. as far as the press goes, it is my fault. so i don't feel guilty. >> larry: mel gibson gets the rap. >> i feel like i took my stripes, you know. >> larry: and casting patrick stewart. was that your input too? >> i think he is a great. >> larry: great villain. never seen him as a villain. >> there is a very funny story with him. he is being shoved under the water with a mop, and all kinds of things are going on. and one of the grips, one of the lighting guys, andy from the deep south, and he says hey, your billy shakespeare didn't teach you this stuff, did he? where is your billy shakespeare now? but he still has that delivery.
it doesn't look risky. i mean, phil, does this look risky to you? nancy? fred? no. well it is. in a high-risk area, there's a 1-in-4 chance homes like us will flood. i'm glad i got flood insurance. fred, you should look into it. i'm a risk-taker. [ female announcer ] only flood insurance covers floods. visit floodsmart.gov/risk to learn your risk. on his car insurance. so, from now on, i'd like to be known as "the saver."
you know, the esurance site gives out discounts every day. "saver." shouldn't we call the website "the saver"? the website already has a nickname, people. which is? "fred." so, you're "the saver," while the website, which gives out thousands of discounts everyday, is called "fred"? hey "saver." yeah that just happened. [ male announcer ] call today or go to esurance.com.
>> larry: we're back with mel gibson. all right. what is it like to have directed, getting the highest award a director can get, and then acting for another director? >> it's a relief, you know. it's a lessening of responsibility. i mean i trust dick donner. he is a veteran. i wouldn't ever, ever presume to have a better way than he has. i mean, it's a different way, i'm sure. and at times -- >> larry: you never want to say do it this way? >> but we do. it's that kind of relationship. well can go hey, dick, what if -- and he'll go good idea, kid. that's what makes him good because he is wide open. he always says i'm just a traffic cop here. and i've learned from that. i think that's your function as a director, to take everyone else's talent and try to use the best of it and draw it all together. >> larry: jodie foster said she
likes directing better in that it's easier. you're in charge, the ball of wax is yours, you're the signoff, that's it. acting is nor difficult. >> in a way, because you have to trust more. when you're the ringmaster there, there is -- it's pretty comfortable. i liked it. it's basically just storytelling. and if you can tell a good story and use those tools to do it, and have a lot of talented people to come and assist you do it, and if they all follow orders, it's great. >> larry: do you like directing yourself? she didn't. >> no, i don't. and you know, i'd have days where i wouldn't be in front of the camera, and i'd be very cheerful. i'd almost be high on the whole job, you know, the army sort of marching and all this. but when i have to get in front of the camera myself, i would become very cranky. i wouldn't like the experience. >> larry: also, she said you don't give that different kind of twitch you might give to something as an actor when you're directing yourself. you take less risks.
>> yeah -- i don't know if that's true. i found myself to be very -- i wasn't as indulgent as i was. i was far less indulgent than i would normally be, because i was some socialistic form of direction where i say i'll only give myself three takes. and why should i have more takes than anyone else. and i did that because of that, because i was less indulgent, i knew the story pretty well and i felt relaxed. >> larry: something you want to do again? >> absolutely. i want to. and this time i won't get in front of the camera. >> larry: just direct it? >> get some other poor slave to get out there. >> larry: something in mind? >> yeah, i'm going to do "fahrenheit 451". >> larry: that was a great movie. the german guy. >> oscar werner. truffaut was a great director, but that was not one of his great films. >> larry: but it was so interesting. it was a great failure. >> the premise is like fantastic, the whole kind of jackboot on flower sort of society, you know. >> larry: burning books. >> oh, yeah.
burning books or computers or whatever we have now. you got to go into the future here. and it was a great book by bradbury, almost for what wasn't in it. he painted this picture and didn't certain things and it was even scarier. >> larry: why were they doing it? >> yeah. >> larry: you never knew why they were banning books, only that they were banning books. it was bad or to the people. >> absolutely. >> larry: who are you going to cast? >> wow, it's wide open. i probably won't get into it until '98, actually. cameras won't roll until then. somebody good, larry. help me. >> larry: yourself? >> no, no. >> larry: the stories, harrison ford said all he did is ask the "conspiracy theory" people to not open the same weekend as his film because it would be stupid, and they agreed. there was no threats. they would stupid to have two blockbusters. >> we would cut each other's throats or maybe he cut ours or we his. nobody ever knows.
it's a brutal -- it's a bloodbath this summer. >> larry: it's a crazy business you're in. >> i've never seen a summer like it. >> larry: because? >> the market is glutted. and there is a lot of stuff coming in. there are so many millions being spent on marketing. it's just being shoved at people like mad. and i don't know. i think the industry can start to cannibalize itself, you know. >> larry: but people go to the movies. >> they do. they do. but not enough to -- >> larry: isn't this a record-breaking summer? >> i think so. but it's also like more films than have ever been put out in the last ten years all happening in three months. >> larry: $90 million. how can you make it back? >> it's a riddle there must be a way. i'm still trying to figure that one out. i think the whole idea is buy low, sell high. you just have to find a way to do it for less. >> larry: do you get very involved in your openings? what did it take in? are you nervous? do you check on saturday? >> that's an indication of whether it got out there. and it's an indication also you know, whether you'll ever work again.
>> larry: such security in this business. you may not work again if this one doesn't go. >> you usually get three strikes. but it's a good thing. >> larry: mel gibson is our guest. he stars in a terrific movie, "conspiracy theory." we'll be right back. now snapple's got healthy green tea, tasty black tea, real sugar, what's our slogan? bester stuff! - stuffy stuff! - good stuff for bettering stuff! guys? the best stuff on earth just got better. - good stuff, craig. - we're dating. [ announcer ] snapple. the best stuff on earth just got better. junior, run the numbers! price on a flight to maui. >> on it, dad. >> nobody move!! >> hrmmm? ♪ priceline negotiator
>> i'm calling a family meeting. >> there's no time... we're searching hundreds of sites for the cheapest flight. >> what you're doing is setting a bad example for the kids. on priceline, you can shop all these flights, and get the best price guaranteed. and if you add a hotel or car, you save even more. >> shut it down, people! >> a family that saves together, stays together.
>> look, i need to tell you. >> jerry, jerry, look at me. >> and i was in the belly of a whale. >> okay, just calm down. >> no they were in -- >> okay, look at me. i want you to put the gun down, please. >> no, it was -- i did -- there wasn't any gravy and i -- >> jerry. >> listen. >> just put the gun down. >> larry: welcome back. we're replaying our interview with mel gibson from 1997. he spoke about his career as craft and being one of hollywood's most famous leading men. in the past we have not seen mel gibson take stands on issues.
he surely has feelings as any person who watches the show knows. you have taken a stand recently with full-page ads everywhere, and you're up front about conspiracy. someone said is that a plug for the movie or is this your heart? >> it's true. i was looking at these things. why wouldn't your heart go out to a community that has been sort of poisoned. >> larry: explained in the ads. >> well, they're getting the residue of some factory, some big businesses like they're getting some poisonous residue. >> larry: so they asked you? >> they asked me. one hand scratches the other. >> larry: you said mega conspiracy. >> i didn't say that, but i think they suggested that. >> larry: didn't hurt you didn't hurt them. >> doesn't hurt anything. >> larry: the only thing hurts more is going to the movie since it has nothing to do with the town. >> no, nothing to do with it. i don't know whether that's a good thing or a bad thing for the town. but i think it's a good thing. >> larry: did you ever think twice about i don't want to get involved in issues?
>> one always thinks that, you know, when issues come flying into your face. you have to be very careful. especially you have to be sure that you do it responsibly, you know, that you don't come out with an opinion before you really think it through. >> larry: you're not a joiner by nature, right? we don't see your name on the mastheads of 1500 charities. >> no, i've never been a club member really. the only club that i belong to is a cigar club. >> larry: are you therefore not clubby out here? >> not particularly, no. >> larry: you're not at the parties and morton's monday night is not your scene? >> no. i don't -- you know, i'll do it -- and it's fun when you do do it. but it's certainly not a habitual thing. >> larry: what is it like being a star? what is it like being a movie star? is it what you thought it would be? >> no. but then you know -- >> larry: nothing is. what is most different? >> i'm sorry. >> larry: what's the most different thing? >> the most different thing? >> larry: about what you thought and what is. >> oh, i see.
the broads. >> larry: not that easy or they are easy. >> no, they're not. they're not throwing themselves out of buildings on me. >> larry: what is the biggest detriment? what is the deficit? there is a deficit to everything. what is the deficit? >> the deficit i think is loss of personal freedoms. >> larry: and no privacy? >> none. not much. so you have to adapt to your life so that it -- so you don't go crazy. you have to find different ways to do things. which can be kind of interesting. but nothing replaces that loss of, you know anonymity. >> larry: do you ever wear beards because you want to do something normal people do? >> i do the hat and glasses. getting into a beard, it's pretty heavy-duty. it's uncomfortable. >> larry: what about the tabloids? is that a part of it? >> i hate the tabloids. show me anyone who has ever been a victim of theirs who does not. you know, they're in many ways they're pretty reprehensible the way they go about doing things. >> larry: the end justifies the means? >> absolutely.
>> larry: have you ever sued? >> i never have. i've never done it. >> larry: some have successfully. >> i know. and i've thought about it, you know, and i thought oh, jeez, the time wasted, you know. actually devoting your time on their account is to me really like really negative. it's a very, you know, time consuming. and then they'll always drag it up and use it again. anything is good for them. >> larry: that's right. >> even the refuse. >> larry: it don't matter what it is, let's bring it up. when you read -- a total lie. not even a half truth. how do you deal with that? like that's totally wrong, you weren't even there. >> it used to bother me a lot. i used to think those bastards, i'll get even with them. i wanted to go into the paper, whatever it was with a machine gun, this is your imagination getting out of hand, of course. but now i think i just have to go and toss it over the back.
i was talking to rupert murdoch about that very thing. >> larry: and he owns a few of them. >> he said to me, today's newspapers are tomorrow's fish and chips wrappers, you know. and he is right. >> larry: of course gone today, gone tomorrow. >> do you remember what it said? we're into information overload these days and who cares, really. who cares. because you feel personally about it doesn't mean that anyone else . it's just a bit of nothing really. it's fluff. >> larry: mel gibson is the guest. "conspiracy theory" is the film. it's a hoot. we'll be right back.
it doesn't look risky. i mean, phil, does this look risky to you? nancy? fred? no. well it is. in a high-risk area, there's a 1-in-4 chance homes like us will flood. i'm glad i got flood insurance. fred, you should look into it. i'm a risk-taker. [ female announcer ] only flood insurance covers floods. visit floodsmart.gov/risk to learn your risk. while i was building my friendships, my family, while i was building my life, my high cholesterol was contributing to plaque buildup in my arteries. that's why my doctor prescribed crestor. she said plaque buildup in arteries is a real reason to lower cholesterol. and that along with diet, crestor does more than lower bad cholesterol, it raises good. crestor is also proven to slow the buildup of plaque in arteries. crestor isn't for everyone, like people with liver disease,
or women who are nursing, pregnant, or may become pregnant. simple blood tests will check for liver problems. you should tell your doctor about other medicines you are taking, or if you have muscle pain or weakness. that could be a sign of serious side effects. while you've been building your life, plaque may have been building in your arteries. ask your doctor if crestor can help and go to crestor.com to get a free trial offer. announcer: if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help. >> you know how to put one of these in? >> can't read it. it's printed so little without my glasses. >> you're no help. >> can you speed this up please? you may have nothing to do. i have things to do today. >> no, we can't. so will you shut up!
>> license. >> yeah, jaywalking. >> i don't have it on me, okay? i wasn't driving, okay? i was walking. what do i need, a walking license now? >> let's just shoot him. >> get out of the way! i'm going to do it. we can make it look like suicide. we can make it look like suicide. >> video camera. >> i don't care. >> get out of here. >> not that way, this way. >> over there, go. >> larry: my guest is mel gibson. he stars in warner brother's "conspiracy theory." this could be one of the big ones. what was your -- the turning point in the mel gibson career of all the films? what was it that we all said now we know you? >> i'm not sure. but i think -- i think perhaps maybe when i started making american kind of action films like the lethal weapon thing. this about 11, 12 years ago. >> larry: before that, you made what, mad max? >> oh, i did those early on.
>> larry: so you were kind of a cult person then, right? >> yeah, big in asia. >> larry: that's what i mean. you were known, but not box office america. >> yeah, no, not necessarily. >> larry: how did "lethal weapon" come about? >> well, it was donner sitting around who will we get to play this guy? and they send me the script. i don't know what went on before that. but i certainly got the pages and i liked it. and i had taken about a year off and decided to put on a hair shirt and wrap barbed wire around my chest and sort of go out and manage the cattle. >> larry: you are a rancher. a gentleman rancher. >> absolutely. and i thought well, i've suffered for a year. i might as well go back and see if i can do this right this time. so i went back to -- came back to los angeles and i had a really good experience. it was terrific. and i have worked with donner five times now. going into six soon. >> larry: so that helped a lot, having that director. you and glover had -- the rapport and chemistry you have with julia roberts, you also have with danny glover.
>> yeah. >> larry: did that work right away? >> absolutely. and the reason is i think and donner attracts people who are basically creatively very generous. and they both are. >> larry: explain that term. everyone is interested in film now, and we hear it said a lot. generous means? >> generous means that they try their utmost to make you look good. and in return, that's the kind of a just a filial love kind of thing. >> larry: so if danny glover gives to you, he gets back from you. >> oh, man, yeah. but it's not conditional. >> larry: there are giving actors that don't get back. >> that's right. but danny will always be like that whether he got it back or not. but i really appreciate that. and it makes a really nice atmosphere on the set. because there is love of the craft and love of the art involved there. and you're always just trying to make each other look good. >> larry: do you have to like each other? >> no, you don't.
you don't have to like each other. but you do have to love one another. >> larry: the broadway theater about people not speaking that get on stage and magic. >> absolutely. >> larry: you've had that? >> well, you cannot like somebody, but love them at a certain level. >> larry: the level of the part they're playing? >> whatever. or the level of what they do, their endeavor, whatever it is. you can like their table manners. >> larry: when you were director, was that -- did you have to the generous there? were you a generous director? >> i think so, yeah. >> larry: but you probably were an actor's director. >> i gave them all a lot of -- a wide range of things to let them explore things and talk about stuff, was there like as an ear if anybody wanted to talk. >> larry: all the action and comedy you do, do you prefer movies that are like moving, you know, there is high tension? >> i do. >> larry: as opposed to the light romantic comedy? >> yeah, i like something a little more kinetic, because i think on the fly that way you
can effect a lot more. i like the physicality and the speed of something. i don't know why. >> larry: yet you also did "hamlet." we'll talk about that in a moment. our guest is mel gibson. he stars in "conspiracy theory" with julia roberts and patrick stewart. it's a dick donner film. we'll be right back. now snapple's got healthy green tea, tasty black tea, real sugar, what's our slogan? bester stuff! - stuffy stuff! - good stuff for bettering stuff! guys? the best stuff on earth just got better. - good stuff, craig. - we're dating. [ announcer ] snapple. the best stuff on earth just got better.
here, as before. never so help you mercy how strange an art i may bear myself as i will here after think meat to put a disposition on. never to note that mean more to me. this do swear. >> swear. >> larry: mel gibson's made a lot of headlines this week. we thought tonight would be a good chance to hear from mel in his own words. here is more from our 1997 interview with him. >> larry: "hamlet." a major departure. >> yeah. >> larry: what made you take that on? outstandingingly surprising reviews. every review is saying this is good. >> oh, not every one. >> larry: there are some who didn't like it? >> can't win them all. >> larry: the ones that i read were good. >> i think it's that -- it's supposed to be the actor's acid test, isn't it?
and it is. because you can't really come to any final conclusion on that character. it's impossible. shakespeare made it like that, impossible on purpose. with a genius, he did that. >> larry: felton has said hamlet, you can play hamlet any one of 40 ways and be right. >> and be wrong. >> larry: you can play him gay, you can play him macho. >> it doesn't matter. there is a million -- a million different ways to go. and every time you think you got a bead on it, you might find some kind of entry. he is a very elusive creature, hamlet. he'll get away from you. >> larry: you wanted to do him for that challenge? >> well, i didn't even know what the challenge was. you could see it on paper. >> larry: not done theater? >> oh, i've done theater, right. i started off there. >> larry: have you done shakespeare? >> i've done shakespeare, but i've never done that. i always figured myself a little not ready for that, the headiness of it. it wasn't until i read an essay, and i forgot who wrote this
essay, but it was brilliant what he wrote, that you weren't meant to come to any final conclusion with hamlet, that shakespeare at this time in his life was pondering on the questions of life and the unponderable, and the mystery of what is after life and all this stuff there are so many questions that he couldn't answer. he simply wanted to ask the questions without coming to a conclusion because he was going through some kind of cathartic experience in his own life, mid 30s or something. >> larry: what did you enjoy the most about doing it? >> what did i enjoy the most? it must be wonderful to say wonderful words. >> for sure. and to go through them again and again and again to try to extract something each time. and you would. you'd get something different every time. unfortunately, once they slap it all together, there is only one way that you sort of interpret it for that take. and i don't know. "hamlet" doesn't seem snag should be on film, for it is on film you should do it again and again and put out a different film. >> larry: would you like to try it in theater?
>> i would. i don't know if have i the energy for it. >> larry: would you like to try theater again? >> i would. >> larry: someone could lure you to broadway with the right script? >> yeah. >> larry: you couldn't make as much. >> but it's the most fun you can have standing up. >> larry: touching other bases. you never had a big accent, did you? but you had an accent. >> well, it changes all the time. >> larry: australian or what? >> i was born here, and i went down there. and i started -- >> larry: you were there what years of your life? >> oh, from the age of 13 through till my early mid-20s. and then back and forth all the time. >> larry: you picked up some of it certainly. >> absolutely. you had to survive. and some just gets in your head, the rhythms and the way of expressing yourself, because, you know, one wants to communicate with the locals. and one -- in fact, i counted myself very much one of them. >> larry: you were called an australian actor, weren't you? >> yeah, that's when i started my career, indigenous kinds of films.
and they required that accent. so i did it. yet your muscularity actually adapts after an well. >> larry: that was an accent you're doing. this is your voice. >> pretty much. this is the way i sounded. >> larry: and in this particular, you really are a new york kind of cabdriver without overdoing the new york. >> yes. >> larry: he is from new york. >> that's right. >> larry: jerry is not from indianapolis. >> no. >> larry: he is definitely not from indianapolis. >> i wouldn't know how to do that. >> larry: did you like him a lot, jerry? >> i did. >> larry: do you have to like your character? >> i think you do. i think you have to like him, even if he is like the most evil creature. see, you can't make those kind of judgments on him. i mean unless the character is specifically knows that he is evil, you know revels in it. >> larry: i think alec guiness said hitler didn't look in the mirror and say i'm a bad person. >> no. >> larry: stereotype. >> even a really bad distasteful disgusting character on the screen, if you can find some
bridge that goes out there to the audience to create some sort of understanding for that creature, well then you've done your job well. >> larry: our guest is mel gibson. he star news in "conspiracy theory." we'll be right back. >> how might i do it. he is apraying. and now i'll do it so he goes to heaven. and so am i revenging. a villain kill miss father, and for that i soul sunder the same villain to heaven. this is higher than salary and not revenge. >> oh, wretched state. oh! >> no. when he is drunk, asleep or in his rage, or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed, then trip
>> what will you do without freedom? will you fight? fight against that? no! we will run. and we will live. fight and you may die. run and you'll live. at least a while. and dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!
>> larry: we're back with mel gibson. he stars in "conspiracy theory." did you ever turn down a role you later regretted? >> no, i didn't. >> larry: unusual. >> i've turned down rolls that other people took and did wonderful things with them. and i've gone wow. >> larry: but you didn't regret because it wasn't for you? >> it wasn't for me. they did a better job. it was terrific. >> larry: the biggest mistake you made. >> the biggest mistake i made? >> larry: there was a movie i shouldn't have done this? >> i was going to say grinding meat in the nude. >> larry: lucky they weren't around. >> i'm glad they weren't there. i'm glad it wasn't documented. >> larry: like explaining "they" in "conspiracy theory." they and them. >> those. i forgot where were we. >> larry: any movie you're unhappy about? >> some don't turn out as well as you would have liked.
and that's for a lot of different reasons, you know. sometimes it's your fault. and early on sometimes i wasn't quite, you know, in the right channel to be able to understand stories i am now. so i always feel like i'm on my game now. >> larry: when you say you love the craft, you like the whole business? you like the studio, you like the stagehands, you like the feeling of making a movie? >> that is great, you know. i really do enjoy that. that's a very pleasurable experience for me to go to work. and that's good. >> larry: the waiting around doesn't bother you? >> not too bad, if you can occupy your time with other things. and there is plenty, especially because i have a production company now. there is always some kind of thing you have to be reading or thinking about or developing. >> larry: or getting a call. something is going on. >> yeah. >> larry: was this a tough shoot? >> this was kind of average. >> larry: really? with all the new york scenes? >> this was average. i've been on tougher shoots.
it wasn't an easy shoot. but it was -- the good thing is that i think if you're with a mob of people that you love working with, then even the tough stuff can be fun. >> larry: any accidents in the new york car scenes? >> any accidents, not a one. >> larry: none with the cab going across four lanes, up on the sidewalk? >> nobody was hurt. but i'm sure we'll get a lot of lawsuits. >> larry: it was funny. that's a great scene. >> which one? >> larry: the guy in the cab who is not in love. >> oh, yeah. >> larry: you forgot this movie, didn't you? >> thank you. >> larry: what are you into now? what is on the point-blank, a remake of point blank, one of my favorite film noirs. >> it was a wonderful old film, but we're not out to remake it. what we did is we got the book and went to that. this is a great story. we're not going to remake the film. we're just going to tell a story from that book. the fact that it's been done before -- no, i'm not going to. >> larry: you're going to star in it.
there is nobody nice in that movie. >> no. it's heartless. that's what i love about it. >> larry: it's totally heartless. >> it's the purity and it's heartless. everyone is really venal and selfish. i like the tone of it. it's really gritty and dark. >> larry: what is the kick about being someone else? what is the kick about being jerry fletcher? >> all right. it's -- and i'm not quite sure how to relate this, but it's the same kick as it always was. and i remember the first time it ever happened to me was i was involved in a situation where i had all the foundation and research down, and then i was put on my mettle by a series of questions fired at me, and i had to just be something else and give another impression. it gets you high. >> larry: really? >> yeah. it's very hedonistic. >> larry: high, no matter what the character is? >> i think if it's cooking. >> larry: so he can be a cop. he can be braveheart, he can be jerry. >> yeah.
>> larry: it doesn't matter what it is. if it's cooking, you're high. >> it's also i don't know, good for your head i think. good for my head. >> larry: do you ever think you're him? >> no, i never get there. >> larry: we'll be right back. don't go away. [ man ] i'm a filthy rich executive. i hear the market's down a million points. i freak out. i spill my large espresso. [ crash! ] the searing pain makes me slam on the brakes. uh oh. your fault. and your fifteen-minute insurance, may not cover my ninety thousand dollar car. so i sue you. cuz that's what i do.
so get allstate. you could save money and be better protected from mayhem like me. [ dennis ] dollar for dollar nobody protects you from mayhem like allstate. [squeaking] don't take the trip. or even buy the camper... without blueprint from chase. create a plan to pay off large purchases... and save money on interest. does your credit card have blueprint? design your plan at 866 blueprint. brings your child's fever down faster
and keeps it down longer than children's tylenol®. not even children's motrin® is proven better. for relief you can trust, look for children's advil® in the cough/cold aisle now. now snapple's got healthy green tea, tasty black tea, real sugar, what's our slogan? for relief you can trust, bester stuff! - stuffy stuff! - good stuff for bettering stuff! guys? the best stuff on earth just got better. - good stuff, craig. - we're dating. [ announcer ] snapple. the best stuff on earth just got better. but, i'm a home. i'm always outside. i make being inside possible. look, do me a favor. get flood insurance. floods can devastate your home. fred, how you doing over there? i think this is gonna be a problem. see what i mean? hey, i know what i'm talking about. because i'm a home people. and, there's no place like me. [ female announcer ] only flood insurance covers floods. for a free brochure, call the number on your screen.
>> i've got tot go down stairs right now. the cia wants to see your body. >> really? well, i won't be here when you get back, but i'll keep in touch. >> you're handcuffed to the bed, jerry. >> yeah, i guess so. i'll chew through my arlington or something. it's better than the hospital field. >> larry: the movie is "conspiracy theory." what was it like to be man of the year at harvard? >> oh, that was a hoot. >> larry: who was woman of the year? >> julia. >> larry: that was advanced thinking on harvard's part. >> i don't think it was advanced. >> larry: what do they do there? >> they give you a pudding pot and an award. and they give you a roasting. they make you put on -- if you're a guy, you have to put on a wig and the bra because it's the tradition in theatre there of an all-male review, playing women and that sort of the stuff. the show was great. i thought the kids were incredibly talented and really
gave it 110%, but not just that, i was impressed by the organization and just who they were. i mean, they were really -- these are smart guys. >> larry: did you accept right away? >> yeah. i heard it was a lot of fun. >> larry: some people don't like to be put on. >> who likes to be put on? i had a wonderful time. >> larry: but it's reverential, too. it's a great tribute. >> behind it, they're really saying we want to have you here. but even if they do give you a roasting. but it was fun. >> larry: this program is seen throughout australia. we get a lot of mail from australia. what don't we as americans -- what should we know about that country that we don't know? >> wow. well, there aren't kangaroos hopping down the main streets of sidney. >> larry: they're very individualistic. >> that's true. >> larry: hard workers. >> yes. indeed. and they call -- somebody put it to me this way. they call a spade a shovel, you know?
>> larry: that's funny. and there's so much land, right? wide open land between big cities. >> there is. most uninhabitable. but it's a great, vast country with all these resources in it. >> larry: do you feel away from things when you're down there? out of it? >> no, you don't. it seems a long way away, but it's not. they're hooked in the world. it's not like they're in some remote place. the world is shrinking and they're right there. the thing -- they're very similar in a lot of way, the two countries. i think -- they had a very similar start. >> larry: they did. pioneers. do you like going back? >> i do, yeah. >> larry: you're a big hit there. major opening in australia, right? aren't you kind of a favorite son? >> well, i would hope so. you never know. you know, i never presume these things that it's going to be a big hit.
>> larry: do your films generally do well out of country? >> better in europe and japan and asia and all that than -- >> larry: why? >> all films do. there's more people. >> larry: and they like action and they like -- they're very attractive to the american name movie star, right? >> i think so. this is film mecca here. >> larry: are you a film fan? >> i am. >> larry: you watch movies? >> yeah. not so much anymore, but i used to. i used to watch them a lot more than i do now. >> larry: why? >> i don't know, i guess i'm kind of jaded a little bit when i watch them now. they don't have the same sort of magic they used to have. because i know all the tricks. i've looked up the sleeves and i can see the strings moving. >> larry: when you watch a film, though, do you say i would have -- i would like to have played that or i would have done that this way? you don't watch as i watch? >> yeah, it's a different kind of watch. now sometimes you're watching for the strings and looking up the sleeves and going wow, that's pretty interesting how they did that. how they achieved that.
sometimes, how the hell did they achieve that? and the good thing about being me is i can go and ask the person, hey, how did you achieve that? and they might tell you. >> larry: were you surprised at all about how you were received with "braveheart"? >> i was. i was. i would hope that it would do well and it wasn't necessarily a campaign strategy to sort of, like, go for the big boys. it was -- >> larry: but the tough critics would like your direction so much? hard to expect that of a film star who they tend not to want to like. >> well, i guess. i was pleased with it. because i think, you know, that's your endeavor really to go out there and touch as many people in a positive way with what you do. you know, you're not making anything for an elite. and if people approve, that's a reward, you know? that's your main reward. >> larry: we should tell you, "conspiracy theory" has action but it's not an action movie. it has violence, but it's not a violent movie. it has humor but it's not a pure comedy.
how would we describe this vehicle. it is a --? >> a masterpiece. i don't know. >> larry: certainly character driven. >> primarily very character driven. and, you know, it tells a story that the ends get tied up to. >> larry: that's rolling dice sometimes in movie, right? >> absolutely. look at the films this summer that don't have -- >> larry: that are character driven. >> and don't have a story. that's what i liked about it. >> larry: is judgment the toughest part of this business? picking what you pick? >> no, i wouldn't think so. >> larry: playing is still the toughest part? >> yeah, getting it right. even if you have a pretty good idea. getting the right temper on it. telling the story you want to tell and help somebody else tell what they want to tell. it's all about communication and getting it right.
>> larry: isn't it also weird to have all this work, all this effort and be judged in a weekend? >> it is, yeah. it's very strange. >> larry: they know friday night at midnight how well you're going to do. >> they do. they project all over the place. project tile all over the place. >> larry: it's a weird life. >> it is strange. it all takes such a long time and copous planning and preparation and it's all over like that. >> larry: and it's a producting but if hershey's doesn't sell its new candy bar the first day, they don't panic and take it off the stands. >> you leave it there and hang and twist in the wind if that be. >> larry: do you agree with advertising for a movie? >> i'm involved to a further extent, yeah. as you get further up the corporate ladder, you -- >> larry: they let you say if i'm unhappy with this? >> of course, yeah. with your own image. most have their own image kind of approval. that's a basic. >> larry: you would want to work with julia again? >> absolutely. >> larry: that project that never came off, was it involved with other people?